True romantics will find countless ways on countless days to show they care

Day massacres meaning of love

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2002

Roses are red.

Lilies are yellow.

Thursday of this week definitely

won't be for this fellow.

Once again we approach that near-mindlessly observed day where couples reach out and touch one another through tokens of affection meant to display love. Pardon me if this is a few months late, but I saved my "bah humbug" for when it could be better applied.

Feb. 14.

Valentine's Day.

The day when marketing reps from Hallmark, FTD, Godiva and DeBeers all get to cash in their biggest bonus checks, thanks to fools like you and me.

The day when young sweethearts -- still yet naive to the foibles of love -- take their first, tender, tragic steps toward a most innocent prostitution -- by exchanging gifts for affections.

You've been there. And chances are, you'll be there again Thursday. Suit yourself, and whomever you may fancy, but I'm here to tell you that the whole Valentine's Day phenomenon has become a steaming heap of crap.

Now, some of you may be wondering, "who tinkled in his tea?" This particular day just manages to always find me at my cynical best. But through all this angst, there shines the light of truth. The day bites because it has been built up to be so much more than it ever was supposed to be.

Granted, Christmas has become absolute commercial debauchery, but the "Big V" can't be far behind. As soon as the holly is off the racks, there are hearts to take its place. Christmas can at least cling to children as an excuse for all the madness it has become. What about Valentine's Day?

There are at least five versions of a story describing the Roman Catholic saint who was martyred for his refusal to worship pagan gods. Before he died, this Saint Valentine sent out notes from prison saying things like, "Remember your Valentine" and "I love you."

There was never any mention of him giving away diamond pendants or matching Kiss-Kiss bears with anybody. Just his severed head rolling by the wayside in exchange for the courage of his convictions, on this day that so many advertisers have painted a painfully plebeian purple haze.

Ironic, then, that on this same day in 1929, one Alphonse Capone felt like overachieving and ordered seven men killed instead of his usual two or three. He was going for 10. But nobody remembers Al's "high point" on this day or compares it to the massacre of traditional romance this day now represents.

So what's that all about? How many guys will buy expensive dinners, sparkling bottles of wine, shimmering jewelry, cuddly critters or the richest chocolates and never truly understand or appreciate love? How many women will mistake those and many more endearing tokens for a feeling that really isn't there? How dare some displaced voice tell me -- and with the utmost sincerity, mind you -- that two month's worth of my salary is supposed to measure up to a lifetime of love?

Why does this one day of the year have to be the day that you show the one you care for just how much you do care? If you truly love someone, there are 365 days to choose from. And all of them are brimming with potential for life, pain, laughter and growth.

I've loved and lost. And maybe some of my disbelief in Valentine's Day contributed to the rift in a relationship which eventually blossomed into a great continental divide, finding her in the Big Apple and me on a big icicle. And maybe, in that regard, I sacrificed my heart for the courage of my convictions.

But the combination of all of that taught me an important lesson that tempers my entire attitude for the bogus ad campaign Feb. 14 has become, gives me hope for the next bright star in my life and rings true in the last verse sung by the ever-eloquent Frank Sinatra:

"Each day is Valentine's Day."

Marcus Garner is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.

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